Reclaim the Night, a women’s march against sexual violence, returns on Saturday, 24 November.

The march will start at 6:30pm outside the Cathedral, heading through the city centre and Devonshire Green before concluding outside the Students’ Union.

A rally will follow the march on the SU concourse, where representatives from charities Vida and Sheffield Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre will deliver speeches alongside the Chair of the Women’s Committee Natalia Mole.

The evening will conclude with two spoken word pieces from University students and a performance by the Belly Dance Society.

‘Unsafe and afraid walking alone in the dark’

Women’s Officer, Mayeda Tayyab, said: “Reclaim the Night empowers women to stand up for their rights and challenge the environment that makes us feel unsafe on our own streets.

Huge crowds turned out for Reclaim the Night 2017. Picture: Reclaim the Night Facebook page

“Since the day women can remember, we have felt unsafe and afraid walking alone in the dark but on Reclaim the Night this fear is pushed aside and we all come together to acknowledge that it is not okay for us to feel unsafe in our own towns and cities.”

The first Reclaim the Night march took place in Leeds in 1977 as a response to the police warning women to keep out of public spaces after dark, due to the Yorkshire Ripper murders. The women marched in solidarity to call out violence and take back public spaces for themselves, it has continued regularly since 2004.

‘Very passionate’ as all-women SU Officers

Speaking about the march in the context of the SU’s first year with an all women officer team, Mayeda said: “This year’s Reclaim the Night is definitely different in the way that all eight officers will be marching through Sheffield with all the women.

“This march is as important today as when there was no #MeToo movement, but now there seems more willingness to take it seriously”

“Being an all women officer team, we feel very passionate about the issue of sexual violence hence we have made it one of our team goals to ensure that we are all working to make Sheffield safe from sexual violence offences rather than just the Women’s Officer, like it has been the case in previous years.

“This march is as important today as it was decades ago when there was no #MeToo movement. However, now it seems there is more willingness to take this issue seriously.

“Nonetheless, it is not to say that survivors of sexual violence do not face struggles in reporting and being believed especially if it is a historical incident, we still have a very long way to go in order to serve true justice to those who commit sexual offences” she added.

Click going on the Facebook event here.

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